Movie Review: Stargate: The Ark of Truth

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The Stargate team searches for an artefact that can defeat their enemies, servants of the false gods that call themselves the Ori.

starsthree

Robert C. Cooper, 2008

This won’t make any sense to anyone who hasn’t seen Stargate SG-1 through to the end, so I’ll just jump into it. The Priors (or priests) of the Ori are still at war all around the galaxy even after the believed death of their gods at the hands of the Tau’ri (humans from Earth). The SG-1 team is in search of the “Ark of Truth”, an Ancient device that they hope will be a weapon against the believers in Origin, the religion of the Ori. The Ark reveals the truth to everyone, but it’s well-hidden, and SG-1 aren’t the only ones looking for it; a group of priors and soldiers, led by none other than the Orici herself, are also searching for it. Daughter of SG-1 member Vala (Claudia Black), Adria the Orici (Morena Baccarin) has grown in power and wants the Ark destroyed before SG-1 can use it and destroy her power base: the beliefs of all members of the Origin religion. Meanwhile, an old enemy is brought back in a desperate attempt to fight the Ori.

Stargate The Ark of Truth (2008)

Nothing classier than Papyrus on a DVD cover.


Phew. Everyone follow that? Essentially, SG-1 is a continuation of the show in one extended episode, designed to tie up the loose ends left by Stargate SG-1’s cancellation. To that end, this straight-to-video movie works well; it would be a solid episode of the show, marrying personal involvement and emotion with intergalactic action. The Ori never matched the Goa’uld as compelling villains, but the incomplete end to their arc was a disservice to the story the show was trying to tell, and the fans who watched it. I’ve recently watched all ten (!!) seasons of Stargate, followed immediately by the movies. The show ran out of steam in around season 7, but managed to get some back by season 8, and its revamp in season 9 was much needed. The reformed team of Cameron Mitchell (Ben Browder), Samantha Carter (Amanda Tapping), Daniel Jackson (Michael Shanks), Teal’c (Christopher Judge), and Vala work together well. Teal’c, resident superbuff alien, is given a lot of the day-saving to do here, as he usually is, being entirely the most reliable of the lot of them. Daniel is typically smarmy and insufferable as the team’s archeologist and Cameron is typically, you know, fine and mostly boring with a few quips here and there – it’s really Browder’s casting that gives him any kind of interest at all – and Sam is her usual awesome self. Vala gets most of the emotional heavy lifting to do, and Claudia Black is more than up to the task of playing the character, who to me is by far the most interesting. With the exception of the storyline with Adria, hers is a character you most often see being played by a man – the flirty rogue with a troubled past and a good heart – and it’s a lot of fun to watch the talented Black play her.

Adria was never a particularly good idea, from her conception as a half-Ori, half-human “cheat” to enter our galaxy without arousing the ire of the Ancients to her ascending into godlike status. Morena Baccarin gives as much as she can but the characters is muddled and confusing, too intelligent to be the true believer she’s made to be, too ruthless to continue to be done in by her non-existent “relationship” with the woman who was impregnated with her. The introduction of the new face of an old company of villains, Marrick (Currie Graham), seems like an unnecessary sub-plot designed to pad out the movie’s run time (though if that storyline had played out over a few episodes of TV it might have worked better). The movie looks pretty good, with the Ori’s City of Celestus returning in all its gorgeous glory. Ultimately this serves as a satisfying end to the story Stargate was trying to tell, but as a movie in its own right it falls short. 

Stargate: The Ark of Truth on IMDb

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